Grimm’s Legal Defense Fund Raises $67K

Rep. Michael Grimm’s newly-established legal defense fund reports raising $67,400 last month, nearly triple what Grimm’s campaign raised during the same time period.

Grimm received donations from a mix of individuals, corporations and political action committees. A number of the donors had previously contributed to Grimm’s political campaign.

One donor to the fund was Grimm’s former father-in-law, Jhong U. Kim, who gave the maximum $5,000. Sin ah Kim, who reports living at the same address as Jhong U. Kim, also donated $5,000.

The Air Line Pilots Association PAC and the National Air Traffic Controllers PAC each donated $5,000. Both PACs have been generous contributors to Grimm’s political campaigns.

Grimm got the green light from the House Ethics Committee in early June to create a legal defense fund for legal bills associated with his April indictment.

It’s unclear how much Grimm’s attorney fees are worth, since lawmakers only have to report expenditures. The fund reported spending no money last month.

Full list of donors after the jump: More >

Grimm Hits ‘Grammatically Challenged’ Recchia in Fundraising Email

Rep. Michael Grimm is going after his opponent’s grammar and connections to liberal bogeyman Mayor de Blasio in a scathing fundraising email sent out today.

The missive comes as Grimm tries to jump start a fundraising operation that came to a half after his April indictment on a variety of charges related to a restaurant he owned prior to taking office.

In the email sent out by the Grimm campaign, Frank Aversa, the former First Vice Chair of the Staten Island Republican Party, attacks Democrat Domenic Recchia for allegedly flip-flopping on his pledge not to build low-income housing on Staten Island.

“Domenic Recchia shows himself to to be Bill de Blasio’s puppet already,” reads the first sentence of the email.

Earlier in the week, Recchia told the Observer, “Listen, we’re not building no low-income housing.” Hours later Recchia reportedly backtracked from that comment.

The Grimm campaign called the statement “grammatically challenged,” before saying Recchia “completely caved” after word got back to Mayor de Blasio, who is aggressively trying to build more affordable housing across the five boroughs.

“Obviously, Recchia is deeply uncomfortable opposing de Blasio, his longtime pal,” reads the email. “Which makes sense since Recchia voted with de Blasio over 99% of the time when they were Brooklyn councilmen together.”

Linking the two together makes sense. De Blasio is not the most popular politician on Staten Island. He lost the borough in his otherwise landslide victory last November.

The Recchia campaign, which clobbered Grimm in fundraising last month, brushed off the attack.

“We won’t comment on Congressman Grimm’s desperate and underhanded tactics to try and distract from his indictment,” said Recchia spokeswoman Sarah Weinstein.


Israel Considers Grimm Race a Toss Up

Rep. Michael Grimm isn’t running under the best of circumstances, but Washington Democrats think the embattled Staten Island Congressman still has a shot at winning the race.

During a conference call with reporters, Rep. Steve Israel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, described the race between Grimm and Former Brooklyn City Councilman Domenic Recchia as a “toss up.”

“The conventional wisdom is that that race now is a lean D,” said Israel. “I don’t see it as a lean D. I actually see it as a true toss-up, so that’s going to be a national battleground.”

Analysts like Cook Political Report moved the race to “Lean Democrat” after Grimm was indicted in April on federal fraud charges related to a business he owned prior to taking office.

Since that indictment, Grimm has seen national Republicans abandon him, his campaign manager quit and his fundraising plummet.

According to Federal Election Commission filings released yesterday, Grimm raised less than $24,000 last month. Recchia raised nearly $262,000 during the same time period.

That said, Grimm reported having a little more than $1 million left in the bank at the end of last month, just slightly less than what Recchia had on hand.

Grimm is also well-liked by voters, in part because he lives on Staten Island and not in Brooklyn, which makes up just a small part of the district. That distinction could help him tremendously against Recchia, who lives across the Verrazano in Gravesend.




Updated: Grimm’s Fundraising Tanks

Rep. Michael Grimm’s fundraising has dried up since his April indictment.

According to Federal Election Commission filings released Tuesday, the embattled congressman raised less than $24,000 last month.

He spent just $13,000.

Grimm still has more than $1 million left in the bank, though his legal debt is north of $400,000.

Grimm’s fundraising came to a halt after he was indicted in April on various fraud charges related to a business he owned prior to taking office. That indictment led to his being abandoned by the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In addition to trying to stay in office, Grimm is attempting to raise money to pay off his mounting legal bills. Last month, the House Ethics Committee approved Grimm’s request for a legal defense fund. Grimm is expected to report later this month how much money that fund has been able to raise.

As for who is contributing to Grimm’s political campaign? Here’s the list.

Grimm’s Democratic opponent, Domenic Recchia, is expected to file his fundraising report with the FEC later today.


Recchia’s numbers are out. The former New York City Councilman raised $261,693 last month, eleven times what Grimm brought in. During that time period, Recchia spent nearly $56,000. He has nearly $1.3 million in the bank.

Update Part Two:

Grimm’s campaign sent us a statement from the congressman, in which he hits Recchia and claims his fundraising is where it needs to be.

“My campaign has been fundraising aggressively for the past year and we are absolutely on track and where we need to be,” said Grimm. “My support is based on my achievements in Congress…from major flood insurance reform that drove down massive premiums to $60 billion in Superstorm Sandy aid. However, my opponent’s funding comes from months of desperate seat shopping among the City’s ultra-liberal elite…first he wanted to be Comptroller, then Brooklyn Borough President, now he thinks Staten Island is his last resort? He’s in for a rude awakening when his entire record is against their interests: from voting to raise property taxes 18.5%, to supporting more tolls to enter Manhattan, to ignoring the people’s will and voting himself a third term in the City Council.”

Recchia Lands 2nd Union Nod From RWDSU

Former NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia’s campaign is poised to announce that the Brooklyn Democrat has landed his second union endorsement from RWDSU for his bid to unseat Staten Island Republican Rep. Michael Grimm.

“Throughout his many years of public service, Domenic Recchia has stood with New York’s working families,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “As a New York City Council Member, Domenic not only fought for the people of his district, but also advocated on behalf of working families in every borough.”

“We need a congressman who will stand with low wage workers and all working people. Domenic Recchia will bring the voice of working families in Staten Island and South Brooklyn to our nation’s capital. We are proud to endorse him.”

John Durso, president of Local 338 RWDSU, added:

“We have seen first-hand Domenic’s commitment to all of New York City’s working families As a City Councilman he fought for legislation to protect workers’ rights while also working to create new jobs. We are confident that Domenic will continue to be a great champion as the next Congressman of the 11th District, and he will help change the Republican-caused gridlock in Washington, D.C.”

This isn’t terribly surprising. Two years ago, RWDSU endorsed Mark Murphy, the Democrat who unsuccessfully sought to oust Grimm in a high Democratic turnout, presidential election year.

The NY-11 race has heated up since Grimm was indicted on 20 counts of fraud and tax evasion. Grimm, who is out on $400,000 bond, made his first court appearance yesterday, and it appears this case is not going to be speedily resolved (as he had hoped) before the midterm elections, in which the scandal-scarred congressman continues to run.

The charges are in connection to an Upper East Side health food restaurant that the congressman owned and operated prior to his 2010 election to the House. The government has accused Grimm of filing false tax returns, committing mail fraud and withholding more than $1 million worth of taxes.

The case stems from an ongoing federal investigation into Grimm’s fundraising which has lasted about two years. Also, the House Ethics Committee announced in November that Grimm was under investigation for possible campaign finance violations.

Part of the problem in terms of timing is that it’s going to take a considerable amount of time for attorneys to review the 70,000 pages of documents and 8,000 emails that government prosecutors are using as evidence against Grimm.

The congressman has insisted he is innocent, and has called the charges against him a “political witch hunt” designed to “assassinate my character and remove me from office.” He did, however, resign from his seat on the House Financial Services Committee in late April at the urging of Speaker John Boehner.

Grimm’s Lawyer Says Lawmaker Won’t Resign

A statement released by the attorney for the newly indicted Rep. Michael Grimm says the embattled Republican congressman has no plans to resign.

The statement from attorney Elizabeth Kase says the charges of fraud — some 20 counts all together — is part of a “calculated campaign of leaks, rumors, innuendoes and speculation.”

Here’s the full statement:

Grimm FINAL Statement by Nick Reisman

Grimm Charged With 20 Counts Of Fraud Indictment Reveals

From our colleagues at NY1:

Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Staten Island, was taken into federal custody this morning over allegations he defrauded the government while owning a Manhattan restaurant.

The indictment, unsealed in Brooklyn Federal Court, charges the Staten Island Republican with five counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, three counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal tax returns, one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S., one count of impeding the Internal Revenue Service, one count of health care fraud, one count of engaging in a pattern or practice of hiring and continuing to employ unauthorized aliens, two counts of perjury and one count of obstructing an official proceeding.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says the charges stem from 2007 to 2010 when he was the owner and manager of “Healthalicious,” a fast food restaurant on the Upper East Side.

They say he fraudulently under-reported over $1 million of the restaurant’s sales and wages.

Grimm has been under investigation for possible campaign finance violations since his first run for Congress in 2009.

He was elected to the House in 2010, representing Staten Island and southwest Brooklyn
and is currently seeking re-election.

Grimm’s attorney says his client will keep serving in Congress while fighting the charges.

Grimm made national headlines in January when he physically threatened Time Warner Cable’s Washington reporter Michael Scotto for asking about the investigation during a recorded interview.

MoveOn Pressures Gibson, Grimm With Minimum Wage Poll

MoveOn today released a series of PPP polls of 13 “vulnerable” GOP House districts – including two in New York – that show a majority of voters in each support the idea of raising the federal minimum wage, which has been a top priority of the Obama administration and congressional Democrats.

The NY-19 poll, which appears below, shows 60 percent of Rep. Chris Gibson’s constituents support raising the hourly wage at the federal level from $7.25 to $10.10, while 36 percent are opposed and 4 don’t have a position.

Fourty-four percent said they would be less likely to vote for Gibson if he voted against raising the wage, while 27 percent said they’d be more likely to vote for him and 26 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Gibson is facing a challenge from Democrat Sean Eldridge this fall. MoveOn members plan to demonstrate outside Gibson’s Cooperstown offices at noon tomorrow to demand he support an increase in the minimum wage also to deliver petition signatures from constituents.

Similar actions are scheduled outside the offices of every House member whose district was polled, including Gibson’s Republican colleague, Rep. Michael Grimm, in NY-11. Grimm is facing a challenge this fall from former Democratic Brooklyn Councilman Domenic Recchia.

NY 19 Minimum Wage Polling Results by MoveOn_org

Brooklyn, Staten Island Conservatives Boost Grimm

The Brooklyn and Staten Island Conservative parties have given early endorsements to embattled GOP Rep. Michael Grimm, who has been beset by a string of troubles – including his recent threat of bodily harm to a Time Warner Cable News reporter that made national headlines.

“Congressman Grimm’s proven track record of delivering for the people of Staten Island, particularly after Super Storm Sandy, has been immense, and we need him in Congress to continue this important work,” said Richmond County Conservative Party Chairman Harold J. Wagner in a statement released by Grimm’s campaign. “We wholeheartedly endorse him for re-election.”

Brooklyn Conservative Chairman Jerry Kassar said his committee’s endorsement of Grimm had been “unanimous,” adding:

“His commitment to a strong national defense and pro-growth economic policies, coupled with his outstanding constituent services in the district, continue to make him an excellent choice for Congress.”

House candidates are on an earlier schedule than state-level candidates, thanks to a court order that moved the congressional primaries to June – a subject of heated debate in the state Legislature, where Democrats are seeking a uniform June primary date, and the Senate Republicans prefer August.

That means House candidates will have to start circulating petitions in March.

The Republican parties in Grimm’s district (NY-11) have yet to formally endorse him. In December, it was briefly rumored (yet again) that the man who had previously held Grimm’s seat, former Rep. Vito Fossella, might be interested in running for his old job. While Fossella, who did not seek re-election after a drunk driving arrest led to the revelation that he had fathered a child out of wedlock, has not ruled out a future run, he has made no moves to seek office this year.

Grimm is being challenged by Democratic former NYC Councilman Domenic Recchia. The congressman managed to win re-election in 2012 despite the fact that his fundraising is the subject of a federal probe. That investigation was the subject of questions posed by TWC News reporter Michael Scotto to Grimm after the State of the Union address last month that caused the congressman to threaten to throw Scotto off the House balcony.

After initially balking, the congressman issued an apology to Scotto and said the two should do lunch – a meeting that so far has not taken place.